The Magician of Vienna

(Author) (Afterword by)
& 2 more
Product Details
$15.95  $14.83
Deep Vellum Publishing
Publish Date
5.2 X 8.2 X 0.7 inches | 0.75 pounds

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About the Author
Sergio Pitol Demeneghi is one of Mexico's most acclaimed writers, born in the city of Puebla in 1933. He studied law and philosophy in Mexico City. He is renowned for his intellectual career in both the field of literary creation and translation, and is renowned for his work in the promotion of Mexican culture abroad, which he achieved during his long service as a cultural attaché in Mexican embassies and consulates across the globe. He has lived perpetually on the run: he was a student in Rome, a translator in Beijing and Barcelona, a university professor in Xalapa and Bristol, and a diplomat in Warsaw, Budapest, Paris, Moscow and Prague. Pitol is a contemporary of the most famous authors of the Latin American "Boom," and began publishing novels, stories, criticism, and translations in the 1960s. In recognition of the importance of his entire canon of work, Pitol was awarded the two most important prizes in the Spanish language world: the Juan Rulfo Prize in 1999 (now known as the FIL Literary Award in Romance Languages), and in 2005 he won the Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious literary prize in the Spanish language world, often called the "Spanish language Nobel." Deep Vellum will publish Pitol's Trilogy of Memory in full in 2014-2015 (The Art of Flight; The Journey; The Magician of Vienna), marking the first appearance of any of Pitol's books in English.

George Henson is a literary translator and assistant professor of translation at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey. His translations include Cervantes Prize laureate Sergio Pitol's Trilogy of Memory, The Heart of the Artichoke by fellow Cervantes recipient Elena Poniatowska, and Luis Jorge Boone's Cannibal Nights. His translations have appeared variously in The Paris Review, The Literary Review, , BOMB, The Guardian, Asymptote, and Flash Fiction International. In addition, he is a contributing editor for World Literature Today and the translation editor for its sister publication Latin American Literature Today.
"Pitol is a writer of another kind: his importance lies on the page, in the creation of his own world, in his ability to shed light on the world." -- Daniel Saldaña Paris, author of Among Strange Victims

"Pitol is probably one of Mexico's most culturally complex and composite writers. He is certainly the strangest, most unfathomable and eccentric. . . . [His] voice . . . reverberates beyond the margins of his books." -- Valeria Luiselli, author of Faces in the Crowd

"Reading him, one has the impression . . . of being before the greatest writer in the Spanish language in our time." -- Enrique Vila-Matas

"A gorgeous, insight into literature, history, and a life lived through words. Sergio Pitol is one of Mexico's greatest authors." -- Mark Haber, Brazos Bookstore (Houston, Texas)

"Reading Sergio Pitol will make any serious writer want to write--and write better. . . . In Pitol's life and his writing, neither images nor thoughts flow naturally and automatically to their logical associations." -- 3: AM Magazine

"Sergio Pitol is a legendary Mexican writer, whose ability and fame are best explained by noting that he has won both the Herralde and Cervantes Prizes." -- Tony Malone, Tony's Reading List

"Sergio Pitol is not only our best active storyteller, he is also the bravest renovator of our literature."-- Álvaro Enrigue, Letras Libres

"The Art of Flight has none of the obsessive, Proustian detail of Knausgaard, or the metafiction of Lerner. It resists the light-heartedness of Bolaño's depictions of youth and escapades, and the moroseness of Hemingway. Instead, it resembles a cloudy gemstone: at once glimmering and opaque, layered and precise." -- Rosie Clarke, Music & Literature

"The Art of Flight is an homage to the value of stepping out of your comfort zone, to the difficult imperative of staying true to yourself, to living a life consumed with an intense quest for knowledge and perfection, and above all, a paean to a love of life and the power of books." -- Jennifer Smart, The Dallas Observer

"A dense, fascinating world, both familiar and strange, a world where different times, spaces, texts, journeys, ideas, and memories fuse and re-create one another." -- Rafael Lemus, Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas

"The Art of Flight reads like a long overdue celebration for a timeless art form that is constantly changing, constantly reinventing itself through the years, but rest assured, will never die." -- Aaron Westerman, Typographical Era

"The reflections on Pitol's life as a writer are thoroughly enjoyable and, at time[s], gripping." -- Tony Messenger, Messenger's Booker

"The Art of Flight is a book bursting with energy and curiosity. It is a collection of observations, set of diaries, travelogue and much more. It defies categorisation and cannot be summarised. Only experienced." -- Tulika Bahadur, On Art and Aesthetics

"Pitol is an inspiring teacher, and the experience of reading The Journey is akin to conversing with an admired professor, after which one hastily jots down the myriad writers and books mentioned in hopes of retroactively catching up on missed references. It feels like an honor as well to stumble on notes Pitol makes for future novels--as if we're trusted confidants." -- Anne Posten, Words without Borders

"Told in intelligent and warm prose, Pitol once again shows the reader the profound importance of literature and travel in living a meaningful life. Bursting with wisdom and memories, The Journey is another unforgettable trip with a masterful guide." -- Brazos Bookstore Staff Pick

"Witty, engaging, and regularly dizzying with its shifts between the real and the absurd, The Journey lives up to Pitol's reputation as one of Mexico's most intriguing writers." -- World Literature Today

"Pitol is a tactful writer who masterfully handles hundreds of different subjects in a compact, novel-like form. . . . One of his great strengths is to turn from comic sentences to those of poetic resonance with a seamless and subtle finesse....this and the preceding volume--[The] Art of Flight--are some of the best to be published by a small press in the last few years." -- Matt Pincus, Bookslut

"Simultaneously bewildering and fascinating. . . . To close The Journey, indeed, is to feel as if a dream has ended and the reader is finally returning to the real world with its harsh surfaces and clear light." -- Jeffrey Zuckerman, The Quarterly Conversation

"In order to enjoy The Journey, the second volume of revered Mexican author Sergio Pitol's idiosyncratic autobiographical trilogy, the reader must abandon expectations: of genre, of structure, of distinctions between the aesthetic "truth" of dreams and fiction, and truth in the sense of literal accuracy. Those who take this leap will find Pitol a warm companion and an erudite guide through both his own artistic process and a compelling moment in history that has much to say to our own." -- Anne Posten, Words Without Borders